Virginia, Marketing Intern, shares her experiences and an insight into her course, work experience and career path …
My name is Virginia and I’m a third year Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies undergraduate. I came to Cardiff because I always wanted to be a journalist and this was the best university in the UK for this discipline.
However, as I progressed in my degree I became disenchanted with journalism as a career. Journalism is in crisis. In the digital era we live in news are pre-packaged and there is barely any investigative work. Furthermore, journalists are treated like puppets: they are subjected to PR influence and pressures from official institutions. So there is very little place for investigative and inquisitive work. This was my main appeal: to be some kind of detective researching and denouncing unfairness.
In addition, I also learnt in a first year module that journalists are poor, work long hours and most do not have a family because they’re too absorbed by their job. So I asked myself, do I want this to be my future? Even if I enjoy writing, doing so all the time every single day of my life, it will just get boring.
Luckily, my course is very broad and even if I’m no longer pursuing a career in print journalism I still love communications and the media. Right now, I have many options and I am not sure what path to take since I have not decided what area to specialise on. On one hand, I really like public relations in all its forms: social media, advertising, merchandising, event management… On the other hand, broadcasting is a part of journalism and entertainment I also find fascinating. However, I have not experienced it enough to decide whether I actually want a career in that sector. Hence, I am split between promotional communications and broadcasting.
What have I done so far?
I have done some work experience over the summer. That is my best piece of advice: do not waste your Summer. As a university student your Summer holidays are over 4 months long so you have plenty of time to do some work experience. Obviously, enjoy the holidays too but look for some balance.
After my first year, I worked in a press office for a city hall in Spain. I found this opportunity through some scholarships offered by the regional government, so always keep an eye everywhere! I worked here during the month of July which meant I still had time to relax and party during June and August. It was a very badly paid job and I feel as if I was exploited during this month, I had to work weekends and sometimes as late as 3am even though this wasn’t on the contract. However, it was a starting point and any experience is better than no experience.
Last summer, I did some work experience in an Advertising and Event Management agency specialised in the fashion industry. This was so much fun. I realised at this point that I was more into promotional communications and meeting people rather than being stuck in an office from 9am to 5pm. Once more, the conditions were not great: it was not paid – not even transport and lunch, which meant I ended up spending money on working. However, I learnt a lot and that’s what matters!
Right now, I am a Marketing Intern at Careers and Employability in Cardiff University – this is possibly the first proper job I’ve had. If you’re doing a social sciences degree you’ll possibly have a day off, take advantage of that! I only work one day a week here so it does not really have an impact on my degree workload (it sometimes even works as a break). I would really recommend you to take a part-time job related to your career interest as long as it doesn’t mean missing class, your degree should always be your priority! Here, I do all kinds of marketing related stuff from managing social media to helping out at Fairs .
So what now?
As a third year student I am not sure what will happen after my graduation in July, so I’m starting to panic about my future. I have so many deadlines and assignments that I have not had a chance yet to focus.
I have used the Cardiff Careers service to improve my CV so that it’s more concise and to the point. I also have one appointment in the next few weeks to have some career advice on what path to go and where to start searching for internships and graduate programs effectively. If you are third year student you should definitely book an appointment, I regret not having gone earlier.
Also, I’m planning to apply for masters degrees as a “back-up plan” in case I don’t find a job after Summer. Hopefully, over the Christmas break I’ll have more free time and a chance to organise and start applications.
Good luck with your career planning!
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Careers & Employability, The Student Support Centre, 50 Park Place, Student High Street